The federal government will become carbon-neutral, according to a plan unveiled by President Biden on Wednesday.
The federal government must purchase electric vehicles, generate electricity using wind, solar, and nuclear resources, and utilize environmentally friendly materials. The president is aiming to leverage the federal government’s massive buying power to jumpstart the market for clean energy, electric vehicles, and more energy-efficient buildings.
In a series of executive orders, Biden called on the federal government to change its 300,000 buildings, 600,000 automobiles and trucks, and $650 billion in yearly purchases to help him meet his target of a carbon-neutral federal government by 2050.
During his presidential campaign, he made promises to utilize the federal government as a model and assist boost green energy markets. The timetable for the transition was established by the executive orders signed on Wednesday.
The order puts the U.S. in line with global targets to reach net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century, which scientists say is needed to reduce the effects of climate change. By 2030, the federal government should be purchasing electricity produced only from carbon-free sources, and by 2032, buildings should also cut their emissions in half.
The proposals, if implemented, could have a significant impact on the clean energy sector.
“The federal government in so many areas is one of, if not the largest, purchaser,” said Joshua Freed, senior Vice President for Climate and Energy at Third Way, a centrist Democratic research group. This move by the federal government to set standards for more environmentally sustainable products, clean energy, and zero-emissions vehicles would be extremely impactful on the private sector.
President Biden has made a promise to reduce United States carbon emissions by 50% to 52% below 2005 levels by the end of this decade. Hundreds of billions of dollars in tax incentives are included in a major climate and social spending bill that is progressing through Congress which could get the country about halfway there, but the rest will require significant executive action.